The Villa Appetiser: “Lambert had a Massive Learning Curve”, Says Sam Allardyce

aston villa match preview

Aston Villa vs West Ham 2014


Beat the Hammers and Villa will reach 30 points and can pretty much forget about the teams below them, with three months to pick up another 10 points. Lose, and Robbie Savage might have to include Villa in one of his relegation candidate round-ups yet. UTV.


Big Sam on Villa

“I think that Paul Lambert had a massive learning curve last season with the dramatic change around of players that he made at Aston Villa, buying a lot of young players. I think that all those young players have grown in stature based upon the experiences that they had last season. They are using those experiences to put Aston Villa in a better light in terms of results. They have the danger men as we know.

“They’ve had some very good performances recently, I’m sure he was very disappointed only drawing 2-2 at Liverpool. Coming back against West Bromwich Albion to win and they’re scoring goals at the moment. It’s a big game for us and they’re a big threat at the moment. They’re in good form and they’ve done very well.”


Stewart ‘Judas’ Downing on Villa

“When Martin O’Neill was there we had a good squad and that wasn’t just the starting XI, he could pick two teams, the squad was that good. The second season we lost Martin and things changed.

“I’m not sure if the owners had stopped investing a bit. We bought Darren Bent because we were struggling but you could sense a bit of a change, cut-backs being made and stuff.

“It was a good time for me to move and it’s been a bit of a transitional few seasons for Villa but they’re still a decent team.”

“Me and Ginge (James Collins) were talking about it the other day, how many players were there that we knew. Obviously there’s Gabby Agbonlahor and Fabian Delph signed when I signed but apart from that Paul Lambert’s had a bit of a revamp and bought in a lot of young players.

“Benteke’s probably his stand-out buy. That’s the way they’re going, they’re building a young team and it takes a couple of seasons to do that, it’s not going to happen overnight but that’s what he’s tried to do.”


Lambert on West Ham’s Red Card Appeal

 “I don’t get involved in somebody else’s business. It’s up to West Ham and what they want to do. I don’t know the ins and outs. All I know is they’re debating trying to get him off. It’s not my remit, it’s for West Ham.

But if is overruled then you create a monster of everybody wanting to do the same. That’s what could happen.


Would Lambert do the same for a Villa player?

 “It’s hard to say. You can understand West Ham trying. You’d have to judge the incident on its merit. Everybody is going to be different, whether they think something is dangerous or not. That is their own perception.

“Whether West Ham see they’ve a chance to get it rescinded, I don’t know.”


Form is Temporary

 Memory match:

 10 February 2013 Aston Villa 2 – 1 West Ham

One of the games that helped ensure Villa’s Premier League survival. Not one of the best matches, but Charles N’Zogbia scored an excellent free kick. Will he play for Aston Villa again? That’s a question for a different article!

Aston Villa: Last five League matches at home: W 1, D 1, L 3

 West Ham: Last five League matches away: W 1, D 1, L 3

 In the last five Premier League meetings at Villa Park, Villa have won three times and drawn twice.


One to Watch

Ravel Morrison – Ex-Birmingham City midfielder had some interest in the transfer window and adds some flair to West Ham’s line-up.


Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet

 Although Villa are 10th in the table it’s all very tight and a win would help create some breathing space from the dreaded relegation zone. Despite this, the probable lack of Vlaar will be a loss, especially given our troubles at home. Despite West Ham being on the receiving end of some bad cup results, they’ve been solid in their last few league games, registering a 2-0 win against Cardiff away and picking up a point against Chelsea. With the joint—most clean sheets in the league, West Ham could be stubborn opposition for a Villa side that regularly struggle to score at home.


What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide

 It’s hard to predict how Villa will play these days. Fans were understandably surprised when Villa parked the bus at Everton after such a good display against their Merseyside neighbours. It’s certainly not what the claret and blue faithful will be hoping to see against West Ham, especially after we proved against West Brom that we CAN score goals at Villa Park. Less of the five at the back and another good performance from Agbonlahor, who is likely to return, and it might be a game to remember.


Why Villa have got this game in the bag

 Despite the defensive injuries Lambert has to deal with, the good news for the Villa backline is that Andy Carroll will miss the game through suspension. If history is to repeat itself, we’re in luck as we have a good record against West Ham. We haven’t lost against them in the last six home games in the Premier League. With Gabby back, the West Ham defence (which has also suffered a fair share of injuries) might be there for the taking. Another home win would give the fans a bit of room to relax – and also get the crowd behind the proposed new contract for Lambert. Although, to be honest, it would be nice to chalk up a few more home wins before the club print off the contract for him to him. UTV!

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